Although a concern was raised about the future of farmland, Salmon Arm council gave its approval to forward a farmer’s request to subdivide agricultural land to the Agricultural Land Commission.
Owner Sharleen Miller had explained to council at its March 1 planning meeting that she wished to subdivide her 18.9-hectare parcel at 2240 Highway 97B SE into two lots. Subdividing it would allow her son to build a residence and keep the farm going.
Miller said she has no desire to take the land out of the Agricultural Land Reserve and she thinks it is crucial to encourage young families to become the community’s future farmers.
At the March 8 council meeting, the majority of council voted to forward the application to the ALC, with Couns. Chad Eliason and Sylvia Lindgren voting against.
Eliason said he was opposed because he believed the ALC would be too.
He said the cost to build new buildings and operate a farm are expensive and would be prohibitive if the property was subdivided and subsequently sold, even if it was split between family members. He added that the eastern corner where the new residence would be is arguably arable land.
“I’ve been wrong lots, but I don’t think this has any chance of getting through the ALC.”
Lot 1 would be the westernmost 3.8 hectares, where the house and the most active part of the farm, cattle and hay operations are situated. Lot 2, 14.8 hectares on the eastern portion of the parcel, would be bounded north to south by a tributary of Canoe Creek.
City staff stated that if the ALC were to approve the subdivision, a covenant that would prohibit sale for five years would likely be required.
Coun. Sylvia Lindgren expressed a concern about a subdivided lot being sold in 20 years, leaving ALR land in jeopardy. She said she hoped there would be a way to have just one parcel and have a second house built on it so family members could help with the farm.
Coun. Tim Lavery said the city’s agriculture advisory committee discussed the same issues, on one hand not wanting to break up the land while also wanting the family to be able to continue farming.